Beaton, Cecil - Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton was a British photographer and designer best known for his elegant photographs of high society. Working within a cinematic approach, his black-and-white images are characterized by their staged poses and imaginative sets. Beaton’s costume and stage designs won him three Academy Awards, including one for My Fair Lady (1964). Born on January 14, 1904 in London, United Kingdom to a wealthy family, he went on to study at St. John’s College in Cambridge, however he left before finishing his degree. He was mostly self-taught as a photographer, though he did study in the studio of Paul Tanqueray. Beaton was hired by numerous publications, including Condé Nast, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. During World War II, his focus shifted to documenting the realities of war throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, forging a prolific and varied career. “Be daring, be different, be impractical,” he once declared. “Be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” Beaton’s works can be found in The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the National Portrait Gallery in London, among others. He died on January 18, 1980 in Broad Chalke, United Kingdom.